Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Quarantine Brain!

I recently read the term 'Quarantine Brain' in a friends post online. In the post, this friend was sharing all the odd things that she had done in this time of quarantine. I resonated with so many of the items. As more and more people posted in reply, it was refreshing to see that I am not alone in the wacky things I've forgotten to do, or thought I did but didn't.

Just yesterday I found a card in my car that I was certain I had mailed weeks ago, but there it was on the passenger seat, upside down under a bandana. Ooops. And then, when I got out of the car and went to put my clothes in the dryer, I realized I hadn't actually started the washing machine in the morning when I loaded it. (Insert eye roll).

Over the course of this time at home, I've forgotten what day or date it is and as a result missed a couple of zoom meetings. I realized at bedtime that I forgot to brush my teeth that morning (Sorry Dr. Bonin) and a variety of other things that I'll just keep to myself trusting you get the picture. Normally I might choose to beat myself up a bit about being so forgetful however, these days I'm doing my best to be kinder to myself.

When it all gets to feel a bit much I remember my favorite spiritual practice ~ Gratitude! There are many things I am grateful for, yet when I'm stuck it helps to have a prompt. One of the places I go for that is Gratefulness.org. What I love about this site is the articles, practices, questions for the day and much more that help me turn my frown upside down. :o)

Sometimes I just want to check out of 'normal' reality so I tune into Pottermore aka The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For those of you who are also fans, or to those families who's children are reading the books for the first time, this is a cool website. It's free to sign up and their are quiz's that will help you find your house. I'm a Hufflepuff. Right now there is a tutorial video on how to make your own Hogwarts house bookmarks ~ and awesome people are actually reading the chapters of the 1st book!

Other times I get lost on Pinterest. This is the link to my page Susan Robinson. I've collected a bunch of things that I often use in our Youth Ministry to complement our Spiritual Lessons. For those of you parents looking for something to get creative with your children, go check it out. I've noticed an uptick in people sharing things off my page lately so I know parents and teachers are looking for ways to enhance this time at home.

Speaking of parents ~ do you know about Storyline Online? It's amazing! There are so many great books that are narrated by famous people, which is cool but it's not the best part. There are links called Activity Guides for each book that detail out lesson activities that you can do at home or (someday) when we are back in the classroom in person.

So maybe this 'Quarantine Brain' isn't so bad. It's certainly giving me an opportunity to re-think how I do, what I do. It's given me the time to practice being gentler with myself. It's also given me a greater appreciation for all the ways our Spiritual community is finding ways to connect, share, pray and meditate together while we are apart.

I would love to hear from you too! What are some of the ways you are spending your time? Lifting your spirits? Finding Joy, Light, Connection?

Till next time ~ PB&J friends.  AKA ~ Peace, Blessings and Joy.
Susan
(Photo credit to Jude Beck - Unsplash)
 



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Resources and Blogs to support Families part 2



Welcome to part 2 of our resources and blogs to support families. If you tuned in last week, I hope you found the links helpful. If you missed it, no worries the article is below, just keep scrolling. 

With the warmer weather gracing our days, I hope you are getting outside more, taking in the beauty of Nature and the newness of life that is bursting with color. For me it is a gentle reminder that Spirit always finds a way to express itself. 

Below are four more web sites that I subscribe to. They are full of inspirational articles, blogs, free, and for purchase material and creativity. If you have a favorite website or blog that I haven't listed, let me know. I am always looking for new inspiration and information that supports growth, mindfulness and spiritual practices.

Roots of Action: rootsofaction.com
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD has created a wonderful web site on values based learning that supports youth and teens, educators and parents. Her blog is full of wonderful articles that embrace wholeness and well-being. The website is easy to navigate and articles can be accessed through eight core values: Empathy, Curiosity, Sociability, Resilience, Self-Awareness, Integrity, Resourcefulness and Creativity. 

Teachers Pay Teachers: teacherspayteachers.com 
This is another site offering "free" things. Full of educators tips and often free or low cost lessons on a variety of topics and/or craft or activities that match well with Spiritual lessons. The lessons are easy to download and print in PDF files.

Greater Good Science Center: ggsc.berkeley.edu
This awesome site has a blog, a podcast and on-line classes for parents, educators and more. This is their mission statement: “The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.” Free newsletter filled with great articles.

Big Life Journal: biglifejournal.com 
I've been seeing several free offerings from this site and they also have a pod cast! There are several low cost purchase items that come in PDF downloads that are printable. There are worksheets and crafts (I like the affirmation bracelets) to lesson plans, growth mindset conversation cards, book suggestions and more. 

This weeks photo credit to Andrew Ebrahim via Unsplash. 

Sending you all love, light and lots of virtual HUGs. Keep shinning your light and being amazing ~ we've got this!


 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Resources and Blogs to support Families part 1

As our time of sheltering in Grace continues ~ I've been reaching out to friends and our Center families to hear how things are going.

First, I want to commend you on the amazing job you are all doing!
Yes, it can be very challenging at times. There are sure to be ups and downs along the way. Nothing about what we are experiencing right now is normal. Remember to breathe ~ reach out for prayer support as needed and know that you are not alone.

Some of the comments that have come up repeatedly is "Where do I go to add mindfulness into my child's education?" "Are there some simple ways to add spirituality into my child's life?" or "What blogs and resources do you recommend?".

For this post I am sharing 4 web sites and/or blogs that I subscribe to. Next week I'll post 4 more. I use these often for my own inspiration and to get fresh perspectives on the latest tools that often make their way into the youth lessons I create. Many of these sites are offering "free" material to families in this interesting time as a way to support you. My personal favorites are the SEL - social - emotional - learning tools!

Random Acts of Kindness: randomactsofkindness.org
If you sign up (it's free) you will have access to recently updated FREE lesson plans up to 8th grade on topics such as, Respect, Caring, Inclusiveness, Integrity, Responsibility and Courage. Book recommendations, worksheets and so much more. 

Pathway2success: thepathway2success.com
This is a great blog for educators and parents who home school. They offer free and for purchase materials that are PDF downloadable and printable with activities and classroom tips and strategies. Lot's of great SEL - social, emotional learning tools.

Adventure in a Box: adventure-in-a-box.com 
Liska Meyers has created a website and blog, often with free and for purchase items geared to DIY crafts, activities, and study guides. This site is mostly for school or home school teachers so it's perfect right now! 

The Child Mind Institute: childmind.org 
I recently found this web site while doing research for another project. I am loving what they offer. Their focus is on mental health and support for children and families. The A-Z tab has a variety of topics to choose from. Make sure to check out the "For Families" and "For Educators" tabs too. Best of all they have resources in Spanish.

Finally, starting Sunday April 26th I'll be offering two Zoom youth classes for our Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa families. One at 10:00 am for our 4-7 aged children and another at 11:00 am for our 8-12 children. These will be modified classrooms approximately 30 to 40 minutes in length. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to me via email at susan.robinson@cslsr.org.

Please know that any adult supporting me with these zoom classrooms will be vetted volunteers from our Center to keep your children safe!

Be well and know that you are loved.
Susan

(photo credit - Max Goncharov via Unsplash)




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sheltering in Grace & Creating Connection

The world as we know it is in the midst of a Global transformation. At least that is how I am choosing to look at this time of "Sheltering in Grace". Seeing it this way is helping me to re-arrange my thoughts and desires for physical connection to one of protecting those I love. One day soon we will be able to sit with our friends again, like the picture above. (Photo credit to Duy Pham on Unsplash) Until then, know that you are expressions of love and are loved and missed deeply. It is from that place of Love that I share this information with you.

Many families are now finding themselves in the position of being educators and/or monitors for their children with regard to schoolwork and the extended time frame of needing to shelter in grace. That can be a challenge, especially with the media overload on the topic of Corona Virus. Below are a few suggestions I hope will help guide you in this new journey.

Lean into your Spiritual Practice! The first step in any metaphysical toolbox is Prayer. Affirmative prayer has the power to center us in truth with a capital "T". Connecting with one's Divinity and remembering that It, is never EVER separate from you. Not in any situation. None, Zip, Nada! Let that sink into your thoughts and feel its Divine light saturate every cell in your body. If you need a little help getting started, check out the Affirmative Prayer Library on our web site. www.cslsr.org

Your children hear more than you think they do. Even if you are taking precautions with news, social media exposure etc. children (especially younger children) are empathic beings. If your anxiety level is raised, they will pick up on it. Even when they appear to be actively engaged in play, reading or schoolwork, while you are catching up on the latest news and/or talking with friends voicing your opinion on the status of things, they are listening. As often as possible check in with yourself to monitor your anxiety level. Take some deep cleansing breaths, a moment of meditation or reach out for prayer as needed.

Listen to their fears and concerns. Pay attention to body language. Children have physical tells when they are distressed, even if they do not use their words. Body language, temper, excited behavior are all indicators that something might be going on. If your child is acting different, or acting out, you may want to offer an opening for them to share with you what's up. Statements such as "I can see in your face and body that you have feelings going on. I would love to talk with you about them so we can work through it together" creates a space of welcoming for them. Most children are more than happy to share. And, even if they don't wish to talk then and there, your soft approach let's them know you see and hear them. It gives them an open door to share when they are ready. 


Take an age appropriate approach and speak from Facts! While the CDC guidelines are the same for everyone, the developmental stages of children vary by age. Speaking with your 3-5 year old is going to look different than speaking with your 5-8 year old, 9-12 year old and different again for your teens. You may find that your child has heard a rumor or "fake news" that has them upset.
While the news seems to focus on the growing number of new cases or worse, what they aren't sharing are the numbers of people who have recovered or are experiencing mild cases.
This web site https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus is what I tend to follow as it offers a global perspective and includes, recovered and mild case information. Personally, it helps me to know that the majority of people will and are recovering.

Teach proper Hygiene and be a great role model. Who knew hand washing was something we needed to relearn? This is a great time to model what healthy personal hygiene habits look like. Just as children listen to what you say, they are watching what you do. Keep up the great work and have some fun at the same time. If you, like me, are over singing the Happy Birthday song when washing your hands, come up with new songs to replace it. Maybe something from their favorite movie or create new lyrics to the Twinkle Twinkle little star tune. Make if fun and keep washing your hands!

Get creative with connection and checking in. If you know me, you know I love creating crafty things. It's one of the things I miss the most about not being with the children of our Center. Well that and the hugs, but I digress. This is a great time to create tools for connection and sharing together. Below are a few ideas that came into my head. You may have others. Great! The important thing is to do it together so that everyone's ideas are heard and a part of a shared family project that everyone uses.

Thumbs UP: Hand gestures can be a simple way of checking in - Thumbs up indicate all is well. Thumbs sideways indicate a feeling of so-so or meh. And Thumbs down - not so well.

Emotional Charts: Here is where you can have some fun. Come up with the words you want to use on your chart - Happy - Sad - Tired - Excited - Motivated - Sleepy - Cranky etc. The more words the better. Then create a picture, or maybe a color that represents the emotion. You could use emojis or pictures from magazines, weather patterns, or you could draw your own facial expressions. There are plenty of ideas on the Internet to help get you started. Use this chart to have check in's through out the day.

Create a personal Chill-Ville: My friend Brooke Minkel, RScP from CSL Northern Colorado came up with this one. It's a personal place or space where your child can go to chill-out. It could look like a sheet tent in a corner of a room with pillows and a blanket inside or a quiet designated space in your home. Put things inside that bring comfort and calm. Some suggestions are a stuffed animal, books, coloring items, relaxation tools and prompts, headphones to listen to music. The options are as varied as your imagination.

Inspirational sidewalk chalk art: I am seeing more and more posts of children and families creating beautiful sidewalk chalk art with inspirational messages for all of us who are getting out of the house for daily walks.

Zoom - Marco Polo - and more: Chances are you've already figured this one out, or your child has! There are a variety of tools available today to help us connect with each other visually. Zoom offers a free account that allows for 40 minute calls. It is very easy to use and they have a bunch of tutorials if needed. Marco Polo is a free downloadable app where you create and share video messages with friends and family over your phone. If you have family overseas WhatsApp is a great way to text, call, create video messages or voice messages.

Back to Prayer: Creating and supporting each other through spiritual practice at home is as important now as it has ever been. Especially when we cannot meet together at our wonderful Center. Having a daily prayer together or a gratitude practice is another way to deepen your connection as a family. Start each day by sharing 3 things you are grateful for and end the day before you go to sleep the same way. Yoga, meditation and breathing practices work too. What ever fits for your family, do it and do it often!

I would love to hear some of the creative ways you are creating connection and getting through this time of "Sheltering in Grace". Please feel free to comment below or reach out to me personally (susan.robinson@cslsr.org). I look forward to the day we can all be back together again.
My fur boys, Scooter and Buddha, (pictured below) and I, are sending you lots of warmth, snuggles, virtual hugs and prayers of love and light.




Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love and more LOVE


 
Can you feel the LOVE? We certainly did! 

On Sunday, January 26, several members of Project Sleep Warm joined together with Youth and Family Ministry to participate in the "I found a Quilted Heart Project". Our topic of Altruism was the perfect platform for us to engage in this loving project. With 4 sewing machines, lots of patches of fabric, ribbons, tags, threaded needles and piles of batting along with two teams of volunteers to assist us during our 10 and 11:30am youth classes we set about creating beautiful quilted hearts.
Many thanks to Brenda Kobrin, RScP and Janet DePree for coordinating the extra volunteers and coming in on Saturday to set up the classrooms. On Sunday morning the children arrived with wide eyes and many questions about the change of room layout. During our circle time the children learned about selfless service and reviewed the "I found a quilted heart" web site - www.IFAQH.com for a preview of our project. Once the instructions were given they went off to create.
Love and more LOVE filled the room as the children chose their fabric and created their special heart. With so many loving hands and hearts in the room to assist them, the project was a breeze and the colorful hearts began to take shape. It was so fun to see everyone engaged in this project. Photos of our morning are now on display on the bulletin board outside Grinton chapel just in time for Valentine's weekend. They will remain up through the end of February. Stop by and take a look at all the great pictures and get a mini taste of the great things that occur in our Youth and Family Ministry.
 
If you are interested in joining our Youth and Family Ministry as a once a month volunteer, we have openings! Stop by the Volunteer table in the social hall on Sunday morning to pick up an application.
Or if you have questions about the many ways you can assist us, send an email to susan.robinson@cslsr.org. It takes a village and we have a great one!



Monday, January 27, 2020

A Prayer for Navigating Parent-Child Relationships

I bring my awareness to the One, the Presence that moves all from the invisible into form, always acting on behalf of Its creation. There is nothing outside of Its loving embrace. It is at the center, underneath the surface of all Life. It is alive in every detail and the vastness of the Universe. It abides in all activity and the stillness, as beingness Itself, and it is Good.

And I am made of this Divine stuff, an individual expression of It, here on purpose, an exquisite vessel and instrument of Father-Mother God. It breathes through me, beats my heart. There are no edges; Life is in and as all at once. There is no place I end, and the rest of Life begins. I am naturally inseparable from this Divine Life, lifted, sustained and guided by It.

As this is true for me, this is true for all beings, for all parents and children as they navigate what is theirs to do and know.

I claim for all concerned a softening acceptance and trust in Divine Intelligence that is at work on our behalf. There is an opening to intuition, and confidence in the unlimited capability of the Universe, Its Infinite Potential in the midst of however Life is showing up. I recognize a growing response of comfort and ease, as the warmth and light of love and empowerment melt away expressions of mistaken belief in lack, limitation, separation and fear. All that is unhelpful falls away, making room for ever higher expressions of purpose, connection and worthiness. Relationship with the Higher Self and each other is called forth perfectly, remembering that all we seek is within, part of our inherent Divine design.

I am grateful as I know and embrace this truth for and about all parents and children.

I release my word into the heart and arms of Father-Mother God, where it is known and done. And so it is.

Amada Colt RScP

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash



Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Prayer for the Children in our Community

There is one loving God-Presence. Its love is perfect and kind and unconditional. It is the love of the supreme Father and the love of the divine Mother that is eternally giving itself to all of Its children. What ever name we call the Beloved, Its power to heal is absolute. It is the powerful protection of God that reigns over all of life. It is the nurturing generosity of God that sustains all of life.


Each child, all of the children in our community, are included in this love.  Each one is fully united with the divine Presence, each one protected and nurtured by God.


I accept therefore on behalf of all the children in our community a life filled with love; pure, powerful, unconditional love. I affirm safety, shelter, nourishment, learning, fun, self confidence, respect, joy, health and wonder for each and every child. I accept that each person that is in some way responsible for the care of children is kind, and patient and loving. All needs are met by the generosity of the living God. All systems that are in place to care for children such as schools, medical care, food, housing, have all the resources they need. All children get the positive attention they need and deserve. All families are united in harmony and love. All siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers and others are divinely guided to support each precious, individual child fully and completely. Children are cherished for their uniqueness and encouraged in their creativity. The voices of the children are heard and valued. We all bow down to the beauty and preciousness of each child. A guiding hand is always available to each child and to each one caring for children.


I am so grateful for the powerful realization of God’s protective presence for every child. I give thanks for the love that is present always.


I let this prayer of faith be complete unto itself, knowing that it is the hand of God that expresses and manifests its highest intention.


And So It Is. 

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